Despite whips issued by various parties to their legislators to be present on the first day of the Budget session of Karnataka legislature, as many as nine MLAs from the Congress and three from the BJP on Wednesday were found absent from the House.
The nine Congress legislators who were absent included the four rebel MLAs -- Ramesh Jharkiholi, Mahesh Kumatalli, Umesh Jadhav and B. Nagendra.
One legislator from ruling alliance partner Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S), Narayana Gowda, also skipped the House proceedings.
With some Congress legislators skipping the joint session, which was addressed by Governor Vajubhai Vala, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislators disrupted the House claiming the JD-S-Congress coalition did not have the support of majority.
The 10-day legislature session took off on a stormy note with anti-government sloganeering by the BJP legislators, forcing the Governor to end his speech within five minutes.
"Our three legislators -- Karunakara Reddy, Doddannagouda Patil and Chinnappa Nimbannavar -- had taken permission from the party leaders for not being able to attend the session due to personal reasons," BJP state unit spokesman Vamanacharya told IANS.
The Governor "cannot be delivering" the Budget speech when the government is not in majority, the BJP spokesman alleged.
Asserting that the coalition government did not have the support of all their legislators, BJP MLA from Chitradurga district B. Sriramulu said: "H.D. Kumaraswamy must step down as the Chief Minister."
"CM has not waived off farmers' loans as promised in the previous Budget and now he is all set to present a new Budget. This anti-farmer government has no moral right to present a bogus Budget when they could not fulfil the promises they made in the last Budget," the BJP state unit later tweeted.
Congress leader and state's Minister for Large and Medium Scale Industries K.J. George said the BJP was free to move a "no-confidence" motion.
"There is no use of the BJP creating a ruckus in the Assembly. If they are uncertain that the coalition has the support of the majority, they are free to move a no-confidence motion," he retorted.
Two legislators, H. Nagesh of Karnataka Pragnavantha Janatha Party (KPJP) and Independent R. Shankar, who withdrew their support to the coalition government last month were also not present at the legislature session.
Kumaraswamy, who also holds the Finance portfolio, will present the state Budget for fiscal 2019-20 in the Assembly on Friday.
In the 225-member Assembly, including one nominated from the Anglo-India community, the Congress has 80, including the Speaker, JD-S 37, BJP 104 and remaining are an Independent and one each from the BSP and the KPJP.
Although the BJP has assured the coalition allies that it would not bring a no-confidence motion in the Assembly during the Budget session, the absence of Congress legislators in the House by defying the whip would defeat the money bill due to lack of strength.